Between holiday parties, friendly gatherings, and office shindigs, the season of snacking is upon us. Wherever you’re going, you can’t show up empty-handed. Luckily, we have the perfect solution. A cheeseboard is an excellent and delicious addition to any event, and our team of cheese experts have assembled five handy tips and tricks for building the cheeseboard of your dairy dreams.
- Get Choosy with Your Cheese
Here’s a cool fact: there are thousands of varieties of cheese. While that might sound a bit overwhelming, we’re here to help. Our first tip is to pick approximately four cheeses for your board. When making your selection, it’s important to keep two things in mind: texture and flavor.
In terms of texture, there are four categories of cheese: soft, aged, firm, and blue. As for flavor, it’s important to understand that every cheese is unique, but most fall into categories of mild, sharp, and strong. So, it’s wise to choose one cheese from each of these to ensure you’ve got everyone’s preferences covered.
In general, be sure to include one familiar or popular cheese that even the choosiest guest will enjoy and one “wild” card cheese that stretches the taste buds of your adventurous guests. See our list below of recommended cheeses from each category.
- Let Your Cheese Relax
Maybe that sounds strange, but there’s nothing worse than hacking up a block of cheese all because it was taken out of the fridge too late. All cheeses–whether soft or firm–need time to reach room temperature so that their flavors can really come through. As a good rule of thumb, a half hour is the optimal time to let your cheese relax, which coincidentally, is a perfect amount of time you’ll need to enjoy a glass of wine.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Cut the Cheese
That may sound like a joke but it’s not–okay, maybe. Really though, pre-cutting a sample slice or two for each type of cheese is a great idea. By pre-cutting your cheeses, you set the appropriate amount so that every guest can sample your spread.
- Equipment Matters
Maybe you’ve got the cheeses and other ingredients figured out, but have you considered the supporting equipment for your brilliant board? Don’t let it be an afterthought. Cheeses are best served on a wooden tray or board, making clean-up a snap. To make things easy for your picky guests, labeling each cheese is a great way to ensure no fussy eater wastes even a cube. And, perhaps most importantly, include knives for both cutting and spreading. Soft cheese is sensitive, so be nice.
- Don’t Break the Bank – Not Even for Cheese
Okay, some cheese is worth the splurge; however, chances are you’re building a cheeseboard for more people than just yourself (but no judgement if you’re attending a… solo event). This snack is supposed to be efficient, so don’t go breaking the bank. There are many great cheeses at a reasonable price point. Some grocery stores even have a cheese monger on-staff, so take the time to chat with them about recommendations for budget-friendly blocks. You can build an amazing, delicious, and beautiful cheeseboard all while staying on budget.
We couldn’t end this post without a few last tips. First, make sure to include some sweet and savory pieces on your cheese board in the form of olives, cured meats, dried fruits, nuts and spreads. Add pieces like crackers or bite-sized bread for guests to pair with the cheese.
Cow’s Milk Cheese for Every Taste
Aged: Cheddar, Gruyere, Gouda, Asiago
Soft: Brie, Camembert, Fontina, Colby, Havarti, Burrata
Firm: Parmigiano-Reggiano, Edam
Blue: Gorgonzola, Stilton, Blue cheese